Our look at previous British National Champions continues as the Arab Horse Society celebrates its Centenary. Today’s memory focuses on a very special mare who, in fact, would become a double British National Champion; no small feat. Her name – Sasza.
Sasza – by Wendy Carr
I purchased Sasza (Fawor x Saszetka) in the Polish Prestige Auction in 1992. Bred at the Janow Podlaski Stud in Poland, Sasza had never seen a show-ring and she was from a first-class racing line through her dam: Saszetka was by Engano and out of Sasanka. She was a winner of the Derby and the Oaks and was also dam to Sakiewka and Sarmacja who were both Racehorse of the Year, Triple Crown winners and winners of the Derby, the Oaks and Citerium.
Sasza was in foal to Eukaliptus when we bought her and she had a bay colt. We decided to show her and entered her for the National Show, where my daughter Rebecca was excited about showing her.
Sasza floated around the ring and won the intermediate Arabian mare class, going on to be the best mare with foal at foot. We eagerly awaited the overall championship, as the British National Championship has to be the most prestigious award for Arabians to achieve in this country. Rebecca entered the ring with Sasza, who was still full of energy, and she was awarded the British National Champion Mare for 1993. Needless to say, we were delighted and very honoured to receive this award.
Fast-forward to 1995, when we entered Sasza for the National Show again, thinking “is this a good idea?” We arrived at the show with three horse boxes full of horses, including Sasza, and were all set for a good three days.
Sasza did not have a foal at foot this time and really was in brilliant condition. She won the intermediate B class, and then the best mare without foal at foot. We then had a long wait for the overall championship, still thinking to ourselves that it was silly to try again for this award, but having got this far, we had to carry on. Everyone was on tenterhooks as the championship was called – a lovely line-up of horses, every one a star in its own way. The judges made their decision: Sasza was British National Champion Senior Female and the reserve went to another Silverdale mare and Sasza’s best friend, El Kahira. What a result! And if that wasn’t enough, Rebecca entered the ring again and won British National Champion Senior Male with Gabaryt, the stallion we had on lease from Poland.
We were invited back into the ring for the Templeton, the Overall In-hand Championship. When the 11 qualifiers entered the ring, it was a breathtaking sight: Centurionn (junior male); Zuleena (junior female); TA Rodansk (gelding); Sasza (senior female); Gabaryt (senior male); Litigation (Anglo junior female); El Primero (Anglo junior male); Mayway Master Benson (Anglo gelding); Daws Morrana (Anglo female); Accolon (Anglo male); Weirton Fleur de Lune (part-bred female); Strinesdale Master Mind (part-bred male); and Tamarillo (part-bred gelding).
What a line-up of horses – all top quality and all looking fantastic! After chewing our nails and with hearts pounding, Sasza was declared the winner! I cannot, to this day, tell you how I felt. She has since had a rest from the show-ring but is promising to make an entrance as a veteran, maybe this year at the National Show.
The British Nationals are always exciting and sometimes, there are things that money just can’t buy…the feeling of a British National Champion living is your yard is amazing.
Long live the breed of Arabians! I cannot imagine life without them, and our breeding yard at Silverdale would simply not be the same without Sasza, God bless her.
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This post comes from a series we first ran in The Arabian Magazine in 2005. Called Malvern Calling, the series celebrated British National Champions from Malvern, Ascot and even Kempton Park, and different readers shared their favourite memory from the British Nationals. There is always something special about watching the moment a horse is crowned British National Champion, so please enjoy the memories that will be shared here over the coming month.